***GIVEAWAY (Open to International Readers)*** Wake of the Sadico {Jo Sparkes}

I’m excited to host this international giveaway for you today!  When Jo Sparkes reached out to me last fall to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing The Wake of the Sadico, I knew that it was a book that would be quite different from the usual books I read and review.  As with everything in life, sometimes going out of your comfort zone is a good thing.  In this case, it was a VERY good thing!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

My Thoughts:

First of all, can we please take a moment to discuss how gorgeous this cover photo is?!?  STUNNING.

This book is the most perfect example of why sometimes it’s great to have new experiences and reading a book outside of my usual selections proved to be such a positive and new experience for me.  I went into reading this book with a completely open mind and I’m so happy to report that it totally sucked me right in.

Some of the underwater scenes had me literally holding my breath because they were so intense!  I couldn’t put this book down and finished almost the entire second half over the course of 2 days.

I couldn’t help but think numerous times while reading what an intense and awesome movie this book would make.  The writing was so colorful and descriptive that bringing it to the big screen would be fantastic!  One of the best parts of this book was how everything and everyone tied together to create such a complicated and twisted story.  Seeing all of that unfold on the big screen would be so amazing. I can’t even imagine how terrifyingly awesome some of those underwater scenes would be!  OMG.

One of my absolute favorite parts of writing my blog is communicating with authors and I have loved communicating with Jo Sparkes over the past few months!  She is just lovely and so is her book!  Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to read and review your book, Jo 🙂

A Conversation with Jo Sparkes, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

The book came together through 3 separate pieces.

Learning to dive with 2 instructors who loved wreck diving and a Brit who took exception to some American rules.

Spending time in the UK with my British husband and his friends. I grew fascinated with the cultural differences from the USA (my home country). Wall sprang from 3 people, though (like all characters really), he grew into his own identity.

When reincarnation sprang into my orbit – all the pieces fell together.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Those who like beach reads, supernatural thrillers, tales with ghosts and a happy ending. This plays with reincarnation a little differently.

Where can your book be purchased?

Currently on Amazon and Ingram. That should expand to other outlets in a few months.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

scary   tropical   suspenseful

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

I made up the term ‘soul pods’ – but not the concept. And while I wouldn’t label it a romance, my editor points out “but they’re literally soul-mates!”

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of Wake of the Sadico?
I have 1 copy to give away!  Your choice…hard copy or Kindle version!

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2.  Tell me in the comments below (on this blog post) about a time when you did something outside of your comfort zone!

**You must complete BOTH of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (4/17/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Saturday’s blog post (4/18/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Saturday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

WWW #6 {Book Coffee Happy}

Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly WWW (What I’m Reading) post!  I love when Book Coffee Happy can participate!

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

I started reading this one a few days ago.  I’ve heard from so many people who loooooved it, I’m excited to see if I will feel the same way 🙂 I’ll post a full blog review once I’m finished reading!

What did you recently finish reading?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

This book is GREAT and…I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for it on the blog TOMORROW!!!  Be sure to check back here in the morning for your chance to win!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. The leafy green campus they move through together, the idyllic window seat they share in their suite, and the passion and ferocity that school and independence awakens in them ignites an all-encompassing love with one another. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that originate from beyond the dark forests of their childhoods, and come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving. A joyful, big-hearted book that perfectly evokes the bittersweet experience of falling in love with friendship, the experiences of Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret are at once achingly familiar and yet shine with a brilliance and depth all their own.

I’m such a sucker for novels about best friends.  And this book has FOUR best friends just like ME!  I can’t wait to start reading.  The synopsis makes me immediately think of this book.  Fingers crossed it’s similar because I LOVED that book…

What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

An Older Book that I LOVED #3

I posted about one of my all time favorite books a few days ago and it got me thinking of other older books that I LOVE but for whatever reason have never been written about on my blog.  Being home and quarantined is giving me a perfect opportunity to share these special books with all you 🙂

During a time when so many of you are looking for wonderful books to read, this feels like a wonderful time to give these suggestions and a chance for me to revisit some of my very favorite titles.  Writing about these books is definitely making me want to reread them!

(I wrote this post last year but it is another example of an older book that I LOVED so I’m including it in this new blog series as well)!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

5 Stars

Oh how I loved this book!

It was so beautifully written.  Everything about this book was absolutely stunning…the storylines, the characters, the writing style….everything.  Couldn’t put it down.

I remember sitting in our library’s silent reading room 6 years ago with this book open in front of me as I DEVOURED each beautiful page.  There was a cackling fire in the fireplace, blueberry oatmeal in the tupperware container next to me, steaming hot coffee in the orange travel mug in my hand, and I remember thinking that the entire scene was the most perfect definition of the word”glorious”.

Although I never wrote about this special book on my blog until today (hoooow???), I apparently did write about it on Instagram back in 2018:

Bottom Line:

One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read.

Xo,

Jenny

Have you read The Language of Flowers?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

How Have I NEVER Talked About This Book on Here??? One of My All Time Favorites and Here are Some Personal Reasons Why :)

How on EARTH have I not reviewed this book on here yet?!?  One of my all time favorite books and it’s so special to me for so many personal reasons.  If you haven’t yet read this book…READ.  THIS.  BOOK.

In 2010, I remember walking through Sams Club and seeing it among the other books on the table.  I had heard such great things about it and immediately tossed it into the cart (this was waaaaaay before my minimalism lifestyle started).  I immediately came home and wrote the following Facebook status:

Turns out my Facebook friends LOVED it! I couldn’t wait to start reading.

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women, mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends, view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

My Thoughts:

5,000,000 Stars

I brought this book with me to Minnesota where my husband had a work trip and I tagged along because when your husband has a work trip in the same town as the Mall of America….you tag along. Obviously.

While he was in meetings, I spent my days alone and SHOPPING (again, before the minimalism lifestyle) and when his meetings were done, him and I had the best time exploring a new (to us) city.  What started off as a work trip quickly and randomly turned into one of the most fun vacations him and I have ever taken!  The 2 of us went to fancy restaurants, international bazaars, art galleries, comedy clubs, and more.  We had the best time!  I remember laying in our hotel bed and completely immersing myself into this wonderful book throughout that special week.  I LOVE when I’m reading a great book while on vacation…

Jon and I on that 2010 Minnesota trip! We look like babies!

Fast forward 1 year later and to one of the best memories of my entire life.  I woke up, took a pregnancy test, and everything was instantly changed forever! I was going to be a MOM! Jon and I spent the whole day in complete excitement of what was happening.  Our day of celebrating together had to be cut short because I had made plans that night to go into the city with 2 of my closest friends for a fancy dinner and to hear Katheryn Stockett give a book talk all about The Help!  My friends and I had been planning this special night for MONTHS, how could I cancel on them?!?  So I went…along with my huge secret.  I remember telling the server to leave the feta cheese off of my chicken at dinner and praying that my friends wouldn’t suspect a thing because I LOVE feta cheese (they didn’t)! As much as I adore Kathryn Stockett and her beautiful book…I truly didn’t listen to a single word that she said that night 😉  I’m sure her talk was lovely!

At the book talk the day I found out that I was going to be a MOM!

When I got home that night, I found Jon reading a book of a different genre 🙂

Fast forward 4 years and my sister in law bought my daughter the most perfect shirt with the most perfect quote from the most perfect book:

LOVE IT.

Look closely at my blog’s signature picture of me reading a book and drinking coffee…I spy The Help 😉

If you haven’t read The Help, you absolutely must.  It’s such a beautifully written story!  It will make you laugh, cry, and every emotion in between.  And as a bonus…this is one of the rare circumstances where I actually think that the movie IS as good as the book!

I went to the theater to see this movie when I was 4 months pregnant with my daughter and spent the entire movie rubbing my growing belly.  Her first movie!

I loved the movie and how true it was to the book. Both the book and the movie were so well done. I was able to talk to live chat with Viola Davis (one of the stars of the movie) online after its release and was able to tell her how much I loved it! She was lovely and appreciative of my message and her and I continued to message back and forth…she was so sweet!

Obviously just thinking about this book brings up some beautiful memories for me but even without those, I would so highly recommend this gorgeously (is gorgeously a word?  If not, it should be) written book.  The messages that it sends, the lessons that it teaches, the in depth characters…and everything else.

Bottom Line

It’s an amazing book.  Read it.

Have you read The Help? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

WWW#5…On A Tuesday {Book Coffee Happy}

I love when Book Coffee Happy is able to participate in WWW!  Thanks so much to Sam from Taking on a World of Words  for hosting this fun weekly post!  Technically this is supposed to be posted on Wednesday but tomorrow I have: a Zoom PTO Presidents meeting, my daughter has a Zoom Show and Tell with her class, e-learning for both kids, AND a virtual Passover Seder with my family!  Hence the Tuesday WWW post 🙂

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Jo Sparkes sent me a copy of her newest book and I am 100 pages in.  It’s so different than the books I usually read and I’m learning so much!  I’ll have a full blog review (and giveaway!) posted once I’m finished.  In the meantime, check out this gorgeous cover:

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due.
Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.
Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves.
Until they find a shipwreck.

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico.
In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair.
This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished reading this one!  You can read the book synopsis as well as my full review HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

One of my beautiful best friends dropped this book off on my porch 2 weeks ago.  She had recently finished reading it and thought I would love it!  My kids and I sat on our living room couch and waved to her though the window as she placed it on my porch.  Social distancing is so sad and so hard during times like that, ugh.

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

Happy Passover to all who are celebrating!  

What are you currently reading?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Book Review: The Housekeeper {Natalie Barelli}

I so randomly found Natalie Barelli’s The Housekeeper on the library shelf and picked it up without knowing anything about it.  That rarely happens to me in the “New Release” section of the library!  I thought it sounded GREAT so I happily added it to my pile of books and left the library excited to start reading.  I couldn’t wait to read and review this book!

And then the world shut down and suddenly I was given plenty of time with my stack of library books 🙂  Having not loved the previous book that I read, I was more than ready to start fresh with a new book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it’s like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.

Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire’s. It’s the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all away from her.

Back then, Claire was a happy teenager with porcelain skin and long, wavy blond hair. Now she’s an overweight, lazy drunk with hair the color of compost and skin to match. Which is why when Hannah advertises for a housekeeper, Claire is confident she can apply and not be recognized. And since she has time on her hands, revenge on her mind, and a talent for acting…

Because what better way to seek retribution—and redress—than from within the beautiful Mrs. Hannah Carter’s own home?

Except that it’s not just Claire who has secrets. Everyone in that house seems to have something to hide.

And now, there’s no way out.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

3.5 Stars

The Housekeeper was…good!  It held my attention from page 1 and I read through the entire book fairly quickly.  It had short chapters (MY FAVORITE) and twists (including the ending) which I didn’t see coming.

However, there were definitely elements to this book which left me feeling underwhelmed.  I found the writing to be choppy and containing so many details that it was nearly impossible to keep everything straight.  It severely lacked character development which again made parts of this story hard to follow.

The biggest problem that I have with this book was that parts were just so unrealistic.  Like…severely unrealistic.

And here’s something which I’ve never seen before.  DO NOT READ THE AUTHOR’S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AT THE END OF THE BOOK.  She somehow managed to spoil the endings of her other books in this one author’s note (insert face plant emoji here)???  For someone who HATES SPOILERS, this infuriates me and unfortunately makes me now not want to read anything else she has previously written.  Like…HOW did her editor allow that one sentence to go through?!?

Bottom Line:

Far from the best psychological thriller I’ve read but also far from the worst.

***If you are looking for some GREAT psychological thrillers (one of my favorite genres), check out THIS POST!***

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Why I Stopped Reading This Popular Book

This book is currently alllll over the book blogging community.  Everyone seems to be reading this popular book right now!  I was VERY excited 2.5 weeks ago when I found a lone copy sitting amongst our library’s newest releases.  It was the day before the quarantine started and I had a feeling in my gut that things were about to drastically change.  I had posted this on Facebook that day:

I left the library for the very last time that day with a huge stack of books in my hand and an uneasy feeling in my heart.

Of all of the books I brought home with me, this was the one I was most excited to read!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I didn’t finish reading it.

I LOVE reality tv….like, LOVE.  I also love Influencers, bloggers (obvi), YouTube Stars, etc.  This book topic is riiiiiiight up my alley.

So what was the problem?  Why did I stop reading?

This book toggles between 2 different time periods.  The present day (well 2015 so close enough) which discusses the makings of an influencer and gives the “behind the scenes” of how influencers are “created”.  Loved reading about this!  BUT…the other storyline takes place 35 years into the future.  Robots, devices being implanted into people so they can “see” things in their mind, etc.

Aaaaaaaaand I’m out.

Yes, the future story revolves around a reality tv star and how the world watches her every move which I loved reading about!  However, reading about all of the technical futuristic elements wasn’t for me.  In fact, it made me not want to continue reading.

Also, the author kept eluding to things without explaining them which was both frustrating and annoying.  I’m sure there would have been a big revel at some point where everything would be explained but I just wasn’t invested enough in this book to stick around and find out.

I’ve learned that the #1 reason for me to decide to not finish a book is when picking it up is something that I don’t look forward to doing.  When my favorite bobby starts to feel like a chore, that’s when I decide I’m done.  Too many good books out there!  Moving on.

This book isn’t bad and I 100 percent understand the infatuation that people have with it!  The storylines were interesting, creative, and I was just beginning to see the clever way they were starting to connect…but….unfortunately, it’s just not a book for me.

Bottom Line:

If you love reality tv, influencers, and reading about the future, give this book a try!  If you don’t, this is NOT a book for you.

And just for fun, here are some of my favorite reality tv shows:

The Bachelor/Bachelorette (side note…I hate the pick for the new Bachelorette…)

Big Brother

American Idol (Jon and I used to watch this religiously but haven’t in a few years.  No better time to jump back in like when you’re quarantined!  My family has binged this entire season over this quarantine and as of yesterday we are officially all caught up.  It took a few episodes to connect to these new judges and new format but I’m ALL IN now!  It’s a perfect and fun show to watch as a family, my 8 year old daughter is loving it.)  GO CYNIAH ELISE!

Anyone remember Bridalplasty?  LOVED IT.

Fun Fact:  I used to own box sets of the entire Flavor of Love series and JUST sold them at a garage sale a few years ago 🙂

Keeping up With the Kardashians, Real Housewives, anything on Bravo (Newlyweds the First Year was AWESOME), Teen Mom, etc.

The list goes on and on and on and on….told you I’m reality tv obsessed!

Do you watch reality tv?  Which is your fave?  Have you read Followers?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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Looking for a book to read during the Coronavirus Quarantine? This book is a GEM.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this Coronavirus outbreak.  It’s such an unsure time for so many people.  My family is quarantined in our home and we have been spending our time doing lots of home based activities…including reading!  I have been reading for a little bit each day and so have my children.  When things in the world seem unsure…stability in routine is what always helps to ground me.  Reading and blogging are 2 parts of my routine that I have been focusing on keeping throughout this quarantine.  I hope you are finding a bit of stability in your life during this unsure time as well..and if you just so happen to be looking for a BEAUTIFUL book to read…oh do I have a lovely one for you 🙂

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she’s learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light.
Carry only what fits in a suitcase.
Toothbrush? Yes.
Socks? Yes.
Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope!
There’s no room for any additional baggage.
Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she’s free. One year to avoid anything–or anyone–that could get in her way.

Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean.

And everything changes.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

5 Stars

Oh this book is so, so beautiful.  I absolutely loved it!  I fell in love with these special characters and this is a book I know will stay with me for quite some time.  I truly adore a good YA (young adult) novel and this one was so wonderfully written.  Jennifer Longo was able to convey exactly what teenagers sound/feel like through her writing and it made this story so much more real in every way.

I couldn’t wait to read more of this book each day which was a VERY welcomed feeling considering that was NOT how I felt about the last book that I read…

This intricate story is so well written and offers such a valuable perspective into a topic in which many of us are unfamiliar.  The characters were so wonderfully well developed and many of them were so lovable.  I fell in LOVE with these characters, especially Muir.  I miss each of them already (AKA the sign of a wonderful book).

As I mentioned in this post, I’m always taking pictures of quotes while reading that I love.  This lovely book had 3 quotes that really stuck out to me while reading.  I did the best I could to Photoshop the surrounding sentences in my photos…you know how I feel about spoilers!  I would never spoil a book for you!

I really just love those quotes.  So much.

Upon finishing this book, I now have 2 thoughts:

  1. This book would make such a beautiful movie!
  2. My fingers are crossed for a sequel…???

Bottom Line:

I absolutely loved this special book.  You will, too.

Stay safe and healthy, Friends.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  What book(s) are you reading while at home during the Coronavirus outbreak?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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Why I Stopped Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo {Taylor Jenkins Reid}…But You Shouldn’t!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid came to me so incredibly highly recommended but once I started reading, I knew this book was just not for me.  However…I still highly recommend it!  Keep reading to see why!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it costs–to face the truth.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

EVERYONE loves this book. Let me stress this…EVERYONE.

When I posted a photo of this book on both Facebook and Instagram, the responses were overwhelmingly positive!  Not ONE single person said that they didn’t like it!  How rare is that?!

So I began to read.  In fact, I read 150 pages.

Taylor Jenkins Reid has such a way with words and writing beautiful stories.  Have you read One True Loves?  If not, you should.  I adored that book!

So here’s the thing…it took me over 40 years to realize this fact about myself but now that I know it, it is such a powerful tool when it comes to book selections.

I strongly dislike memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies.

Finishing Michelle Obama’s book felt like a chore (my thoughts on her book are HERE).  The book itself was beautifully written and her story was wonderfully interesting…I just found myself so bored with all of the details.  And this is EXACTLY the way that I felt about Evelyn Hugo.

Granted this book is NOT a memoir, autobiography, or a biography….but….the entire premise is this fictitious character her telling her entire life story to someone so that person can take it and write a tell all.  So pretty much the same thing.

I tried…I did…and it’s a LOVELY book…it’s just not for me.  HOWEVER, I would highly recommend it to others!  From what I did read, it was wonderful and well written.  This is NOT a negative review!  I personally just couldn’t get excited about hearing all of the details of her life and found myself so completely disconnected from all of it.  Exactly how I would feel reading any memoir, biography, or autobiography…

Once I decided to stop reading, I Googled the book summery so I could read how the rest of the book played out.  I’ll be honest…reading all of the details of this book make me even more confident in my decision to move on.

I so wish I enjoyed this genre!  I would be allllll over Jessica Simpson’s new book if I was…have any of you read it???

Bottom Line:

Evelyn Hugo was not a book for me…but might be a book for you!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  Do you enjoy reading memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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***GIVEAWAY***Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story about Trumpeter Swans {Barbara Renner}

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Pen and Cob Swan listen as ice pops and crackles on the lake announcing the arrival of Spring. Realizing she will be laying her eggs soon, Pen urges Cob to find a place to nest. After being shooed away from a beaver’s lodge and muskrat’s den, they hurry to build their own home before it’s too late.

Coloring pages are included so children can interact with the swans’ search for a home. Facts about Trumpeter Swans make this book educational as well as entertaining.

An audio QR code allows the reader to hear the Trumpeter Swan’s call using a QR Code Reader App. This book is appropriate for ages 3 – 7.

My Thoughts:

When Barbara Renner first reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of her beautiful book, the teacher in me squealed with delight!  I taught elementary school for 14 years and was always on the hunt for interesting books to help me teach various topics.  I would have LOVED to have this book in my classroom!

The story is interesting, the pictures are colorful, and the simplistic way that it teaches about trumpeter swans is perfection.  Look at these beautiful pictures!

I read this book to my 4 year old son (and took a selfie for the blog mid word, lol).

Here were his thoughts:

“I liked seeing the baby swans swim. I learned that swans could fly. Swans could make their neck twist in a weird way! Swans have nests.”

There is a QR code included in this book which allows the reader to hear the sounds of real life trumpeter swans. My son and I were both surprised to hear how the swans sound! So different than how we thought they would! For the rest of the day my son walked around making swan sounds. I love that he learned such an interesting fact and clearly thought about it after we finished reading the book. Awesome.

Coloring pages, a QR code, a glossary of terms, AND a page of “interesting facts” all included alongside an informative story with beautiful pictures?!  This book is GREAT!

A Conversation with Barbara Renner, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

While visiting the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, one of the volunteers told me how the Trumpeter Swans were once on the endangered species list. In the 1980s Trumpeter Swan eggs were flown from Alaska to Minnesota to be incubated in an attempt to increase their population in that region. There are now more than 30 nesting pairs at the refuge. I thought this was fascinating and vowed to write a series of children’s book about the Trumpeter Swans.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

The target ages for my book are 3-7; however, since there are facts about Trumpeter Swans included in the book, it is a great resource for all ages, including teachers and parents who homeschool children.

Where can your book be purchased?

There are numerous stores in Minnesota that carry the Trumpeter Swan book, as well as the gift shops at Harriman State Park in Island Park, Idaho. The Barnes & Noble at Somerset Shopping Center is featuring my book at a special price from January 15 to April 15, 2020.

My book can also be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from my website, RennerWrites.com.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

I would consider my book to be entertaining, educational, and interactive.

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

I’m working on another fun Trumpeter Swan book that will be released the summer of 2020. It’s called SUMMER! TIME TO SEARCH FOR FOOD, A STORY ABOUT TRUMPETER SWANS. The main character, Cygie, is a juvenile swan, also known as a cygnet, who doesn’t want to dive for food because the water stings his nose. The story is about his quest for other sources of food without going underwater. As he encounters several obstacles, and becomes hungrier and hungrier, he finally discovers a way to dive for food without burning his nose.

I love to visit elementary schools as a guest author and facilitate writing activities. I also organize book fairs with other children’s book authors where four or five of us go into the classrooms, read our books, and present lessons.

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a signed copy of Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story of Trumpeter Swans?
I have 1 signed copy of to give away which will include the name of the child who will be receiving this book!
If you live in the US, the book will be mailed directly to your home.  If you live internationally, an electronic copy will be sent to you.

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2. Tell me about the child(ren) in your life who would receive this book if you were to win (you don’t have to mention their name (s)!

**You must complete BOTH of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (2/3/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Wednesday’s blog post (2/4/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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